Quote Of The Day: Ernestine Rose


“For my part, I see no need to appeal to any written authority, particularly when it is so obscure and indefinite as to admit of different interpretations. When the inhabitants of Boston converted their harbour into a teapot rather than submit to unjust taxes, they did not go to the Bible for their authority; for if they had, they would have been told from the same authority to `give unto Caesar what belonged to Caesar.’ Had the people, when they rose in the might of their right to throw off the British yoke, appealed to the bible for authority, it would have answered them, `Submit to the powers that be, for they are from God.’ No! on Human Rights and Freedom, on a subject that is as self-evident as that two and two make four, there is no need of any written authority.”

Ernestine Rose (1810-1892) – Great 19th century feminist, activist, free-thinker, and Jewish atheist.


3 responses to “Quote Of The Day: Ernestine Rose

  1. Emmanuelle Schneider


    I am told that it is not possible to be Jewish if you don’t have faith in God. What do you think?

  2. Well that depends on how we define who is a Jew. If being Jewish is defined solely in terms of religous beliefs, then the answer is no – it is impossible to be Jewish and an atheist (like saying someone is a meat-eating vegiterian). But keep in mind that according to orthodox Judaism a Jew is anyone whose mother was Jewish (atheist or not). However, if we understand the word Jewish to encompass a cultural heritage then the answer is yes – it is very much possible to be a Jewish atheist.

    Plus, if you can’t be Jewish and an atheist think about all the good Jews that we would lose: the likes of Emma Goldman, Ernestine Rose, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, Ayn Rand, Carl Sagan, and Woody Allen. Not to mention almost all the founders of the State of Israel.

    This is the subject of my next article (and book) – so I will keep you updated.

  3. Wow!

    I really like what she said!! This is very enlightened… But do we have to be Godless to believe that no written authority is needed??
    I myself believe in God but I don’t really believe that all those doctrines are ultimately right… They are overall limited to a certain mentality at a certain time of history, and doesn’t nessecerly apply to everytime and place… So breaking them from time to time would be a very healthy thing to do 🙂
    Keep the good stuff flowing… I really like this one. 🙂


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